Clarissa Hsu, PhD

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“I want to empower individuals and communities by ensuring they have the information and support from health care systems to make decisions and take action to improve their health and well-being. This means directly involving them in the design and testing of health care processes and interventions.”

 

Clarissa Hsu, PhD

Associate Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

Clarissa.W.Hsu@kp.org
206-287-4276

Biography

Medical anthropologist Clarissa Hsu, PhD, has been doing Kaiser Permanente research since 2001, and became an official member of the faculty in 2011. She conducts research using a holistic approach that unites the cultural, social, and political factors that shape health and health care. Dr. Hsu was one of the first researchers to receive funding from the national Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), which supports studies on issues that are a high priority for patients, caregivers, and clinicians. PCORI-funded research follows an innovative model, including patient input at all steps in the research process. Dr. Hsu and her team christened her PCORI project LINCC: Learning to Integrate Neighborhoods and Clinical Care.

The LINCC project designed, piloted, and evaluated a new primary care role: connecting patients to community resources. This new community resource specialist role was spread throughout Kaiser Permanente Washington, with a robust evaluation and implementation support co-led by Dr. Hsu through KPWHRI’s Center for Accelerating Care Transformation. LINCC also resulted in the creation of valuable health care resources, including an article on having patients as co-investigators, as well as a guide and set of care-design templates for engaging a cohort of patients in co-designing care.

Dr. Hsu is also at the forefront of other prevalent health issues, working to document, design, evaluate, and disseminate new approaches and best practices. She seeks to help chronic pain patients taper off and find alternatives to opioids. She also works to improve how care delivery systems interact with patients and family members around sensitive and complex topics such as dementia diagnoses, use of antipsychotics in youth, blood pressure diagnosis and control, cannabis use, and childhood vaccinations.

Dr. Hsu is an affiliate professor at the University of Washington School of Public Health.

Research interests and experience

  • Clinical Quality Improvement

    Primary care; ambulatory care; preventive medicine; health care design and workforce issues; addressing social determinants of health
  • Patient-Centered Outcomes Research/Patient-Centered Care

    Patient engagement and partnership; shared decision making
  • Chronic Pain

    Using safe and effective methods to treat pain, supporting patients to minimize opioid use, cannabis use, communication about pain
  • Addressing Social Risks in Clinical Settings

    Screening and providing support for patients with social needs 
  • Complementary & Integrative Health

    Patient experiences with complementary and alternative medicine 

  • Evaluation Science and Implementation and Dissemination Science

    Qualitative and mixed-methods approaches

Recent publications

Hsu C, Bluespruce J, Sherman K, Cherkin D. Unanticipated benefits of CAM therapies for back pain: an exploration of patient experiences. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(2):157-63. PubMed

Coleman K, Reid RJ, Johnson E, Hsu C, Ross TR, Fishman P, Larson E. Implications of reassigning patients for the medical home: a case study. Ann Fam Med. 2010;8(6):493-8. PubMed

Hsu C, Pearson D, Maynard R, Cahill C, Cheadle A. The potential of partnerships for health advocacy and policy change: the legacy of the Partnership for the Public's Health initiative. The Foundation Review. 2009;1(3):43-59.

Hsu C, Phillips WR, Sherman KJ, Hawkes R, Cherkin DC. Healing in primary care: a vision shared by patients, physicians, nurses, and clinical staff. Ann Fam Med. 2008;6(4):307-14. PubMed

Cheadle A, Hsu C, Schwartz PM, Pearson D, Greenwald HP, Beery WL, Flores G, Casey MC. Involving local health departments in community health partnerships: evaluation results from the partnership for the public's health initiative. J Urban Health. 2008;85(2):162-77. Epub 2008 Feb 8. PubMed

Morton CH, Hsu C. Contemporary dilemmas in American childbirth education: findings from a comparative ethnographic study. J Perinat Educ. 2007;16(4):25-37. PubMed

Placzek H, Cruz S, Chapdelaine M, Carl M, Levin S, Hsu C. Intersecting systemic and personal barriers to accessing social services: qualitative interviews in northern California. BMC Public Health. 2021 Oct 24;21(1):1933. doi: 10.1186/s12889-021-11981-5. PubMed

Green BB, Anderson ML, Ehrlich K, Hall YN, Hansell LD, Hsu C, Joseph D, Margolis KL, McClure JB, Munson SA, Thompson MJ. Blood pressure checks for diagnosing hypertension: health professionals' knowledge, beliefs, and practices. J Am Board Fam Med. 2022;35(2):310-319. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2022.02.210318. PubMed

 

New funding

Close-up image of Clarissa Hsu

KPWHRI to launch study on vaccine hesitancy among long-term care workers

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute plans to award $4.75 million to compare ways to raise COVID-19 immunization rates.

Healthy Findings Blog

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Vaccine hesitancy in the time of COVID-19

Can lessons from Immunity Community help build acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines? Clarissa Hsu, PhD, thinks so. 

news

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What defines outstanding primary care leadership?

The MacColl Center’s LEAP project identifies 11 features of effective leadership at primary care practices.

research

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LINCC-ing patients with community resources

Study ends but benefits for Kaiser Permanente members continue — thanks to a new support role in the regions’ clinics, writes Dr. Clarissa Hsu.